The Window of the Heart
By John Piper
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.(Hebrews 12:3)
One of the most remarkable capacities of the human mind is the capacity to direct its own attention to something it chooses. We can pause and say to our minds, “Think about this, and not that.” We can focus our attention on an idea or a picture or a problem or a hope.
It is an amazing power. I doubt that animals have it. They are probably not self-reflective, but rather governed by impulse and instinct.
Have you been neglecting this great weapon in the arsenal of your war against sin? The Bible calls us again and again to use this remarkable gift. Let’s take this gift off the shelf, and dust it off, and put it to use.
For example, Paul says in Romans 8:5–6, “Those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (my translation).
This is stunning. What you set your mind on determines whether the issue is life or death.
Many of us have become far too passive in our pursuit of change and wholeness and peace. I have the feeling that in our therapeutic age we have fallen into the passive mindset of simply “talking through our problems” or “dealing with our issues” or “discovering the roots of our brokenness in our family of origin.”
But I see a much more aggressive, non-passive approach to change in the New Testament. Namely, set your mind. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).
Our emotions are governed in large measure by what we consider — what we dwell on with our minds. For example, Jesus told us to overcome the emotion of anxiety by what we consider: “Consider the ravens. . . . Consider the lilies” (Luke 12:24, 27).
The mind is the window of the heart. If we let our minds constantly dwell on the dark, the heart will feel dark. But if we open the window of our mind to the light, the heart will feel the light.
Above all, this great capacity of our minds to focus and consider is meant for considering Jesus (Hebrews 12:3). So, let’s do this: “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”